Growing Food for Mars

By: Shannon Rupert  

The purpose of this project is to quantify the energy required to supplement the food supply of a small group of analog astronauts participating in a planetary mission simulation. Energy parameters are not limited to the physical requirements, but include human effort as well. Crews of 5-7 student and professional volunteers rotate through the Mars Desert Research Station every 2-4 weeks over a period of eight months. Crops grown in our 12' x 20' climate-controlled greenhouse will include those determined by other studies to be the most beneficially grown in small isolated greenhouses and on Mars. Sensors will monitor physical parameters in the greenhouse over the field season, while crews will record crop production and growing management efforts. These data will be used as a baseline for a future program of studies to determine how to improve effort to production ratios and increase crop yields. Space studies on how we will grow crops in space are numerous, but none have been conducted in full simulation in situ. Our results will be useful to compare to these more technical studies.

"Greenhouse", " Energy"
Food Production and Sustainability
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Shannon Rupert

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